The Globe’s Point: What does “murder the media” mean?

Just a few weeks ago now, we started 2021 with an event that startled the country and the world. It was an event best told by the photographs taken at the time: an angry mob charging through the doors of the U.S. Capitol Building, Capitol Police officers beaten into submission, our legislators cowering on the House floor in fear for their lives. These images, candidly capturing the extent of our national division, were taken by a group of skilled professionals who were truly putting their lives on the line by staying committed to their coverage—the media. 

Even using the term “the media” is a bit of a misnomer honestly, when media is a concept that covers much more than investigative and political journalism. It is television programs, films, music, books, art, Twitter, Facebook—the ways we as a society communicate and receive information that is not told to us by our friends, family or neighbors. But it is easier to vilify a seemingly highly-organized group with an apparent agenda rather than critically analyze the many moving parts that make up news media specifically. 

Like it or not, news photographers and reporters are largely the reason the world was aware of what was happening in detail in the U.S. Capitol. And yet, we increasingly find more messages like the one crudely carved into one of the doors at the Capitol: “Murder the Media.”

The message is indicative of the steadily growing hostility towards anyone associated with producing news content, a hostility that has festered on social media platforms and been encouraged by demagogues who stand to profit off of other people’s ignorance. The death threats and physical assaults against journalists and even unlawful detainment of journalists during protests by police showcase the paradigm shift in how people in our country view and treat trained conveyors of information. People do not want to hear anything that does not affirm their own echochamber of ideas, regardless of whether those ideas are true or not. It is not only humiliating to the journalism profession that a large subsection of the public subscribes to this mentality, but also a danger to journalists in the field and to our democratic institutions. What happened at the Capitol is a poignant example of just how dangerous this phenomenon is. 

Ultimately, “the media” is a service. It is one that works tirelessly to provide the latest on current events, human interest stories, sports, entertainment, the weather and the list goes on. We at The Globe follow a specific set of rules and ethics to guide our content and seek to provide the Point Park community with everything they need to know about this campus and the people who make it what it is. 

Pioneers, as we return back to campus this week, we hope that you trust in us to deliver accurate, compelling stories. And that violence against us is the furthest thing from your minds.